Mummy memories

Them, now… December 2015

So here we are, almost at Christmas! It will be Little Mister’s second festive season and Little Misses’ fourth – and her last as a proper toddler before starting school next year (deep breaths!). Today our baby boy (rapidly turning into a feisty toddler himself) turns 17 months old, and a few days ago our his sister turned three years and 8 months. It’s been too long since I wrote a post just about them, their ever developing little personalities and their lovely little quirks. So here’s a snapshot of what they are both like right now, so I can look back and remember details that might otherwise become a hazy blur.

Them now.jpg

The last month or so has really seen Little Mister finding his voice. He’s saying new things every day and yesterday strang together what I think might have been his first mini sentence –“bib on”. All important to him as it signals that food is imminent!

His early words, other than Mum-mum and Dada (now quite clearly being said as Daddee) included banana (said as “mana” and now generally requested at the end of every meal!), “mulk” (milk) and “more” (again, important at meal times!). He’s also really keen on animals, using “baa” for sheep, “woo” or “woof” for dog and “neigh” for horse. And tiger and duck are also popular. He gets very animated about his animals, it’s so cute. Monkeys are also a favourite too.

Our little man certainly knows his own mind now too, demanding to be let “out” of his cot, buggy or highchair as soon as he’s fed up (or fed in the case of the latter).

He’s learnt that his sister’s favourite dolly is called Wah Wah and he’ll say that too whenever he gets his hands on her. All dolls are called Wah Wah as far as he’s concerned. And he quite likes to play with them at the moment. This is probably because he generally likes to get involved in whatever little Miss is doing but possibly also because he’s learnt he can wind her up a bit by doing so. We’ve had quite a few skirmishes lately over Wah Wah and her accompanying buggy!

But despite the daily tussles, he loves his sister really and now says her name and has started to call out to her, which is lovely to hear. Although they are in separate rooms at nursery they sometimes meet in the outside play area and last week I was told Little Miss and her friend had been playing with Little Mister, pushing him around in a Crazy Coupe car. Cue lots of warm fuzzy feelings!

Siblings autumn 2015

His first fumbling footsteps seem so long ago now. He can still be a bit wobbly on his feet but he’ll happily run across a room shouting “go, go go!”. Apparently he also does this at nursery while chasing two young lady friends!

He’s already trying to jump and is a keen climber, which keeps us on our toes. Having an older sibling to copy has made him far more daring than she was at his age. Being much bigger and a boy probably also has something to do with it. Given half a chance he’ll be stod up on one of our little wooden toddler chairs, grinning with delight, arms aloft, wobbling precariously. “Get down” is becoming a common parental phrase. He also loves climbing up on his sister’s bed and the other morning we caught the pair of them stood up by their window, drawing on the steamed up pane. It’s definitely a case of double trouble now!

Sharing a room

Little Mister finally moved out of our room at the end of September (having enjoyed a much extended stay compared to his sister). In our little two-bedroom house, he now shares with Little Miss and so far it’s been great. We’ve heard her talking to him in the mornings and him trying to communicate back, it’s very sweet.

We recently redecorated to give the room a new identity for the both of them, with sunny yellow walls, grey as an accent colour and star prints on the curtains and new toy basket. We just have some new wall stickers to add now as a finishing touch.

Not-so-little Little Miss

She’s still one of the more petite ones for her age but it feels like Little Miss has grown up such a lot this year and the last few weeks have seen us visiting schools and applying for places for next September.

Like any three year old, she asks lots of questions about the world around her – including this week why her brother’s ‘bottom’ is different to hers! I’m surprised she hasn’t asked that one before. She also asked how I got her ‘out of my tummy’ when she was a baby – a lot of hard work I replied!

Her games have become increasingly imaginative and I would love to be a fly on the wall at nursery where some of the most creative scenarios seem to originate. She’s also starting to get a bit better at incorporating her little brother into some of her role play and he in turn is becoming a more able participant (for five minutes or so at least!). She likes to pretend he’s her pet dog and take him for walks using the rein on her old backpack. And he’s very happy to run up and down barking enthusiastically! I must film it to bring out when they’re older.

Her drawings are becoming more detailed. She recently did her first family portrait of us – see the masterpiece below. I am far left, looking rather serious. Daddy is far right, hanging upside down. This was, apparently, not a mistake!

Family portrait

I wouldn’t be surprised if she really did draw Daddy upside down as a joke. She is quite the little comedienne and has been from an early age. She will say things to be deliberately funny or silly.

And she says a lot. It’s amazing to think that this time two years ago she was only really just starting to talk. She still can’t always say her Fs properly, pronouncing them as P instead which leads to the somewhat amusing use of “pox” instead of fox, “pish pingers” for fish fingers and one of her favourite songs in Frozen (which she adores right now) is “Por the Pirst Time in Porever!”

I’m looking forward to a Christmas where she understands just that little bit more than last time and really appreciates all the magic. It’s such a blessing to have two small children at this time of year – even if life does feel a bit like a hamster wheel at times.

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Our wonderful week in Woolacombe

It’s been almost three months since I last updated this blog and it’s safe to say time is flying! Life with two kids and a three-day working week is always going to be busy. Throw in some much-needed house decorating, planning for the festive season and several bouts of family illness, and keeping up to date online had to drop off the to-do list for a while.

But in that time there have been many memories, magic moments and milestones that I don’t want to forget so I’m hoping to catch up on some of those now.

Our wonderful week in Woolacombe

Back at the start of September we set off on our first family holiday as a foursome, a week in lovely Woolacombe.

It’s a place that holds a special place in my husband’s heart. The last four generations of his family have been regular visitors to this seaside gem in north Devon. I’ve seen old black and white footage of his granny, great granny and my mother-in-law when she was a child enjoying the beach back in the late 1950s. And he spent many a happy summer holiday there with his brothers when he was young.

I, on the other hand, had never been before. This is a bit odd really, given that I spent the first seven years of my life living in Devon! How could my parents have neglected to take me?!

Road tripAnyway, Woolacombe it was for our first family road trip. And it really was quite a road trip, with a travel time of around four-and-a-half hours solid driving on a good day. We had a gnarly day with traffic and once we’d factored in toddler-friendly stop gaps along the way, this translated into an eight-and-a-half hour door-to-door journey. With Little Mister being sick just five minutes before we reached our final destination! Thankfully the car seat was largely spared – if you’ve ever had to properly clean one, you’ll appreciate our sense of relief.

Once we’d arrive the little man was back on top form and both children loved exploring our new home for the week – number 6 Sandy Lane Apartments, just minutes from the beach (booked through Woolacombe Cottages).

It was a great base for our week. And, apart from the disappointing shower, had everything we needed, including handy carport parking. There were quite a few steps to negotiate but we managed fine with this, especially since we could leave bulky things like the buggy and beach stuff in the accompanying garage to lessen the load. As you can see from the picture below, the location and view from our windows were pretty impressive.

Woolacombe views

What I loved about Woolacombe…

It’s all about the beach. A beautiful, three-mile long stretch of sand. It was the winner of the 2015 Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice award for best UK beach. It was also an impressive 4th in the best beaches in Europe category and 13th in the best beaches in the world category. Safe to say, it is a very decent beach!

As well as being very long, it’s also very wide – especially when the tide’s out – and there’s just such a feeling of space. Lots and lots of natural, unspoilt space. We went at the end of the summer season when it was quieter but it would take a huge amount of people to fill this epic stretch of sand.

It’s perfect for little ones. As well as great sand for digging holes and making sandcastles, there are dunes to explore and, my favourite, lots of rock pools to discover. Importantly, it’s also very clean. It is clearly well looked after and dogs are not allowed on the main family area of the beach. They are welcome on the quieter parts a little further along, though. It’s a sensible approach, I think.

Woolacombe Beach Collage

You can see above how lovely it is, even on the less sunny days. And that’s only the main beach. To the north of this are two smaller beaches: Barricane (my mother-in-law’s favourite!) and the more secluded Combesgate, which we didn’t see this time.

Also known as Shell Beach, Barricane is quite a small, narrow, bay, surrounded by rocks. It’s also home to a popular beach cafe that in the summer months serves evening curries. It comes highly recommended by my in-laws and we would have loved to have sampled one while watching the sun set. Hopefully next time!

Aside from the beaches, the other thing I really loved about Woolacombe was the feel of the place. Seaside resorts these days all too often have a bit of a tacky, dated feel to them. Not so here. It isn’t overrun with gaudy amusement arcades, shops and general tat. Yes there was the usual colourful array of buckets, spades and other plastic souvenirs on offer but within reason. The place has retained a quaint, village feel. The pace felt slower, quieter and the beach retains its rightful place as the star attraction.

There was a small amusement park a few minutes walk from our flat. It had crazy golf, bumper boats and a few other ride-on things. Just right for our little ones, especially Little Miss.  And if you do want more in the way of activities and entertainment – perhaps if you have older children than ours – there are several holiday parks in the area offering more. But, as someone told me on Twitter before we went, “all you really need is the beach my friend”.

Obviously beaches are much better when the weather is half decent and the elements were extremely kind to us. It was wet the week before we left. Wet the week after. Sunny and warm while we were there. Jammy! I even braved a dip in the sea, which was chilly but strangely pleasant, calming (once the initial shock wore off!) and very invigorating (because of the shock!).

We did quickly learn that holidays with two kids are different. Our visions of quality adult time and evenings spent chilling out with a bottle of wine once the kids were asleep were generally replaced with passing out after a single glass of wine once the kids were asleep.

And we became quite acquainted with the medical services of north Devon – having never before needing to see a doctor while away on our own! On the second morning in Little Miss hurt her foot and wouldn’t put any weight on it, meaning a trip to Ilfracombe Hospital’s walk in centre. And poor Little Mister ended the week with a temperature nearing 40 degrees after his cold turned into a sinus infection needing antibiotics and two visits to a lovely lady doctor, a second detour to Ilfracombe (this time the medical centre), who even called us as we were driving home to check he was ok.

But despite the hick-ups, we did have a lovely time. Lots of ice cream was consumed – much to Little Miss’s delight and a first for the little man. Sandcastles were built. Holes were dug. Shells were collected.  Crabs were caught (in the rockpools, behave! And put back again). We paddled. Little Miss played on the slot machines! And we enjoyed an epic cream tea in Croyde.

I’ll write a bit more about what we did in and some day trips in a second post (which hopefully won’t take three months to write!).

But Woolacombe, we will be back!

PS: You can check out the other 24 Top UK Beaches here at Trip Advisor.

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Penny for his thoughts?

I feel a tad guilty that my son has been the subject of (polite) Wicked Wednesday ridicule for two for weeks in a row now but the boy has unwittingly become the star of some perfectly-timed shots of late. This one is from his birthday picnic (the second one! You can read all about it here) and as you can see, he seems somewhat puzzled. Maybe he’s perturbed that all the cake is gone – food is always a big priority. Or, as his father suggested, he was concerned about the Greek banking crisis!

Either way, happy Wicked Wednesday everybody!

Penny for his thoughts

Yay! We’re delighted that Little Mister’s quizzical look was chosen as one of Brummy Mummy of 2’s favourite Wicked Wednesday photos this week.

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Five things my kids are (or were) scared of

Babies are funny little creatures, aren’t they? There are plenty of things in their world that they really ought to be a bit more apprehensive about. Creating your own new ‘pond dipping’ game in the toilet your big sister just peed in could result in injury a tummy ache, for example (Yes, my son did this at the weekend). Attempting to scramble upstairs every time you spot the gate open when you can barely walk may well turn out to be a bad idea. Trying to poke your chubby little fingers into a plug socket could give you a nasty surprise. And putting small pebbles from the beach straight into your mouth is never going to make you popular with Mummy.

Yes, right now my 13-month-old son is just a bit of a liability. So it makes me chuckle to think of some of the things he actually perceives as a genuine threat and to remember some of those Little Miss struggled with too.

1. Men with beards – both my two have struggled with this one and to an extent I do agree – I’m not a beard-lover myself (sorry to all those I’ve just alienated!). That said, I’ve yet to burst into tears at the sight of one! Our best beard-related wobbly was when the vicar, a youngish, friendly and very non-scary man of God, came to visit us ahead of Little Mister’s Baptism. Baby boy took one look at him and screamed. He then clung onto me for the entire visit while continuing to glare suspiciously at our hirsute houseguest.

George Pig armbands

These bad boys are clearly terrifying!

2. A pair of George Pig armbands – we’re trying to get into a regular family swimming routine and bought these for Little Mister a couple of weeks ago. When I first took them out of the box and started to blow them up, his bottom lip started to tremble. When I cheerfully tried to show them to him he moved away and started to cry! This was repeated for a good half hour every time the offending inflatable came anywhere near him! He has now grudgingly accepted them. All very random.

3. Hand driers – Probably a more common baby phobia than the previous one. Little Miss used to be terrified of them, especially the Xlerator ones. I can recall being at a family gathering at a posh golf club when she was five months old. We’d taken her off to sort out a ‘special’ nappy and I forgot about The Fear. I returned back into a room full of seldom-seen, well-wishing relatives with a screaming, traumatised baby. Parenting fail.

Henry Hoover

Help, it’s looking at me Mummy!

4. The hoover – Little Miss used to panic when it came out at the end of the day at nursery. She was concerned by Henry Hoovers. Maybe it was the face. I can remember her seeing one in a shopping centre and quizzing me about where it was going and having to give it a ridiculously wide berth. Even now, if I’m hoovering at home she hops up on the bed out of the way – although she has softened somewhat now and does like to have a go at pushing it herself (teach them young I say!).

5. Andy at nursery – Linked to the above, for Little Miss at least. Our kids go to a lovely nursery and at the end of the day the owner’s husband, Andy, who looks after all the maintenance, comes round to do the cleaning. When Little Miss was smaller it became a running joke that she didn’t like Andy. He tried not to take offence, it was the hoover! Well, now it seems that her younger brother also takes exception to the appearance of Andy too. We’re not even sure it’s because of the hoover as he’s always seemed fascinated by that at home. Andy tells us he’s trying not to get a complex. And he doesn’t even have a beard!

Five things my kids are scared ofImage credit: freedigitalimages.net/Phaitoon

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A classic for the family album!

Meal times are always interesting with a baby and a toddler sat at the table.

What might have caused Little Mister’s distress, I hear you ask? The discovery that there really is no more yogurt left in his bowl, that’s what. The indignity!

I’d thought his sister was just smiling nicely for a photo but maybe there’s some smugness as well. Clearly she still has pudding left to enjoy.

Love it!

WickedWeds_3Picture copyright http://www.mummystodolist.com

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Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 16 Comments

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